Afternoon tea, great shopping, pub-hopping and outdoor adventures. We found all of that and more during a multigenerational trip to Victoria, BC in Canada.
Located on southern tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria is only accessible to the mainland by boat or plane. Pulling into port past boats, sea planes and water taxis, the stunning Parliament building immediately draws the eye, setting the stage of history and elegance. In the city you will find British influence everywhere, complete with pubs, afternoon tea and beautiful gardens. Outdoor adventures like whale-watching and ziplining are nearby – there truly is something for every age and activity preference, perfect for a multigenerational trip.
I’ve always wanted to take my daughters to Victoria, and when making our vacation arrangements it became clear this girls’ weekend was going to be too good to share. We invited my mom and mother-in-law on our adventure for multigenerational girls’ get away. Our plans were relaxed: sight-seeing, shopping, and eating out with no agenda except spending time together. It turns out that Victoria is the perfect place for making memories.
Things to do on a Multigenerational Trip to Victoria
A City Bus tour will really give you a sense of the area, you may end up changing some of your plans as you get the lay of the land while seeing castles, shopping districts, beaches, parks and gardens. We took a 90-minutes CVS City Bus Tour aboard an open-air double decker bus and took in the historical narration
as we passed by points of interest with the best views. My daughters loved exploring the fun shops and alleys in China Town, the main shopping area has an indoor mall but we really enjoyed all of the shops downtown, entertained by great street musicians as we walked from block to block. As the capitol of British Columbia, the Parliament building is a must-see, the Royal BC Museum is nearby and offers fascinating exhibits and events. Victoria is rich with art and history, but its natural setting offers a wide range of outdoor activities like whale-watching, sea kayaking, ziplining, hiking and exploring the popular Butchart Gardens.
Eating in Victoria
Bring clothes with a little give, with so many amazing eateries in Victoria you won’t want to miss a single bite. Some of our favorites were a delicious farm-style breakfast at Shine Cafe, the elegance and tradition of afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress, incredible fish-n-chips and grilled tuna on the dock at Red Fish Blue Fish, a decadent meal overlooking the inner harbor at sunset at Nautical Nellie’s, fantastic Indian food at Sizzling Tandoor, and chocolate truffles at the famous Rogers’ Chocolates. Wonderful restaurant options were plentiful, including those that catered to gluten-free and other special diets. The kids weren’t able to go into the pubs, but I look forward to a return visit with my husband to experience them then.
Victoria is a very walkable city with taxis and buses readily available, so there was no need to bring our car. We took the Victoria Clipper from the Seattle Waterfront and found the passenger-only ferry to be comfortable, relaxing and wheelchair accessible.
We stayed at the beautiful, contemporary Parkside Hotel and Spa, located a short walk to restaurants and the main shopping area of Victoria. Every morning I looked forward to opening our balcony door and waking my girls up to the sounds of birds chirping and gentle splashes of the fountain in the courtyard below. Your kids will love the Parkside: There is a pool, a theater room for nightly family movies and a koi pond that you step across to one of the entrances. You will love the full-service espresso bar in the lobby and lovely spa. Here’s more about our experience at the Victoria Parkside Hotel and Spa.
A Mediterranean Climate?
On our CVS City Bus Tour we were told that Victoria has a Mediterranean climate, but the goose bumps on my arms weren’t sure they agreed. The weather was beautiful and sunny, with a light cool breeze during our visit in late June. It was decidedly warmer and drier than back home in Seattle, but cool enough during our visit that we were glad we had light sweaters with us. The weather is reported to be mild and relatively dry, Victoria is the driest city on the British Columbia coast.
Canadian friendliness and acceptance of US Dollars, means you feel a world away without having to worry about visiting a foreign exchange prior to your trip. Most credit cards do charge a foreign exchange fee and may require that you notify them if you travel outside of the US. Of course you will need your passport or enhanced driver’s license.